South Sudan Joins U.N.; Mass Graves Reported In Nearby Sudan

Jul 14, 2011

Newly independent South Sudan was welcomed to the United Nations Thursday, just days after the largely Christian East African nation formally seceded from Arab-dominated Sudan after decades of civil war. South Sudan brought the number of U.N. members to 193.

In a Newscast report filed from New York , Linda Fasulo said it remains to be seen "how the impoverished but resource-rich nation of 8 million people will fare in achieving a stable, peaceful and democratic society."

As our colleagues at Planet Money reported yesterday, South Sudan unveiled its new currency, the pound, yesterday.

But the world's youngest nation has other things to worry about, as well. Fasulo says the issues include oil-sharing, citizenship, and border monitoring.

"In addition," she said, "concerns remain over human rights abuses and corruption, as well as a possible return to war over the disputed oil-rich border area of Abyei and conflict in Southern Kordofan."

In fact, analysts at the Satellite Sentinel Project say that they have detected newly dug mass graves in Southern Kordofan, which lies in Sudan. The Satellite Sentinel Project is based out of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

The AP reports:

The Satellite Sentinel Project images show what appear to be freshly dug sites in South Kordofan state, where Sudan's Arab military has been targeting a black ethnic minority loyal to the military of the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. A witness told the project that he saw 100 bodies or more put into one of the pits."

"The DigitalGlobe satellite images contain many of the details and hallmarks of the mass atrocities described by at least five eyewitnesses to the alleged killings," said Nathaniel A. Raymond, of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which analyzes the project's images.

South Kordofan erupted into violence in early June; new reports of gunfire and heavy bombardments emerged in the past week.

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